An Evening at Merriweather

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Photo by Alexandria Schnepf
On the rather dreary spring evening of May 7, 2016 guests gathered under a 30,000 square foot tent on the picturesque landmark estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton. The campus at Long Island University brings you back to the scene of the 1920’s and straight into the glamorous party scene of The Great Gatsby.

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The event was presented by Long Island University, Americana Manhasset and Poll Restaurants where the tapas style food was exquisitely delicious; cocktails from Stoli and brews from Oyster Bay Brewery were perfect. Entertainment was 1920s to the extreme – magicians, gaming tables, silent movies set up in what felt like a real-life movie theater, and a woman in a tub with champagne… (my favorite part).  We celebrated food, music, film, art and fashion.

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Photo courtesy of Long Island Pulse Magazine & Mashbooths
This was the first event of its kind with hopes to continue it on as an annual tradition to benefit local art and cultural exhibits and organizations for years to come.

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Photo by Alexandria Schnepf
The evening supports local community partners: Gold Coast International Film Festival, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, Nassau County Museum of Art, Old Westbury Gardens, and Sands Point Preserve Conservancy.

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Aston Martin courtesy of Long Island Sports Cars
Enjoy the eye candy that is Chris Norton NYC Band. They totally killed it and were probably one of the most fun live bands I’ve seen in quite some time. Check out their website in the link they have a bunch of greatness on SoundCloud.

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Funny photo of me being #GreatGatsby asF.

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Photo by Alexandria Schnepf
Gotta love a great Snapchat selfie to end the evening.

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Selfie by Alexandria Schnepf 
Fabulous evening with fabulous people. ❤

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Marc Jacobs Fall Winter 2016

Feeling extremely fortunate to have attended the Marc Jacobs Fall Winter 2016 fashion show at NYFW this past month. The show was held at the Park Avenue Armory uptown, where the space was recreated into a perfect stark white room to juxtapose the dark, smokey looks that walked the runway.

Working with both Marc Jacobs RTW Collection Design and Production teams at MJ HQ allowed me to literally see first hand how intricate, detailed and beautiful the creative process is. So many long hours of hard work and dedication by so many exceptionally talented people. As they say, “it takes a village.” And this village resides at 72 Spring Street in downtown Manhattan.

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The buildup to the show was intense, as all fashion shows are and as any deadline can be. Viewing this season from sketches and ideas to swatches of fabrics and furs; from samples of trim being assembled and buttons hand sewn on to the final pieces that walked the runway was absolutely unreal. Getting a sneak peak of Kendall Jenner on Tuesday and Wednesday night’s in preparation for Thursday’s show was super cool / aka fangirl-ing.

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Kendall’s Look – No Peeking!

Check her super cute Vogue NYFW video here:

Lady Gaga totally killed in the MJ show as well – completely unsuspected surprise by basically everyone. See more in the MJ video above. Her look is rad, although she looks pretty crazy in this photo.
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VogueRunway.com

One of my favorite jackets / looks was the collabo with Canada Goose – I watched somebody take a perfectly beautiful Canada Goose down jacket and cut it in half… to create the beautiful crop jacket with feathers pictured below on the left. I can’t get over it and I want one ASAP. So like, think of me next Christmas when you’re shopping. And Molly Bair completely SLAYED the final look of the show in the photo below right.

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Some more of my favorite looks from the show are:

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The show had a gothic yet sweet vibe and everything was dynamically opposed. Oversize, yet barely there. Every model was in sky high platforms that I’m already coveting.

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Gracious to have been a part of a truly magical production of Marc Jacobs NYFW 2016. Catch more Marc Jacobs here.

Babel Fair

Nolita has got to be my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan and more specifically Elizabeth Street holds a special place in my heart. My first job in NYC was located on that quaint little street, and I can’t seem to get enough of it. ❤ Strolling down the street, there are many fabulous restaurants, Tacombi, BarBossa, Public, Lovely Day, The Butcher’s Daughter, Egg Shop and Black Seed Bagels (to name a few! or all…) Those are actually all amazing restaurants that I frequented often and absolutely love and they’re all in a 3-4 quick city block radius! YAS.

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Today I discovered an awesome clothing boutique called Babel Fair. I walked in to explore and find out more. What I loved most about this shop were the finite details and that each item held such importance no matter how large or small. Obviously, there are various clothing boutiques in NYC and in Soho for that matter, but what makes this boutique unique is that many of the designers are LA based or international (Korean & Australian).

Notice the Henna Lipstick! A favorite of mine!! <3
Notice the Henna Lipstick! A favorite of mine!! ❤

There are a variety of chic products in this store, carefully placed trinkets, jewelry, and beauty products on a large table in the center of the room and shelving toward the back. I also liked that the lip balms and beauty products had trial samples available!

It's all in the details!
It’s all in the details!

How cute are those rings?! Parallel walls have racks of clothing by international designers on either side. Naturally, my eye was drawn to the black, white and pale pink shades.

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Sometimes when I walk into boutiques, I feel compelled to shop. At Babel Fair, I was greeted very politely when I walked in and struck up conversation. No pressure, just great vibes. Babel Fair have a great customer loyalty program as well! I ended up purchasing the lip balm in the shape of a skull (photographed below). Black, obviously! 😉 Smells like mint – the pink one was fruity – it was a tough call!

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Be sure to stop in to Babel Fair next time you’re on Elizabeth Street in Nolita! I’ll definitely be back in soon!

Located at 260 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY.

Modern Backpack

The last time I purchased a backpack, I was in college, it was from The North Face and I was the coolest kid looked like every other kid on campus. That charcoal & pink backpack traveled throughout Europe and all over the USA with me; I do still love and wear it — but I needed to bring my backpack game to a more chic place.

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Photo from Everlane.com
Enter my BFF, @Kaitmills who sent me a photo of her new Herschel backpack asking if it was “chic enough” to wear to a fashion/hospitality interview in NYC? Le DUH! How fab does she look? After I realized how undeniably cool backpacks are again (from her chic fashion girl selfies below), I decided to go after these new Everlane packs I had been lusting after!

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Everlane has evolved into one of my favorite new brands. I read a tag line on The Fader recently about how “Everlane turned hipsters basic,” and I kinda love that because I ❤ hipsters and I ❤ basics (the clothes, not the persona). As seen in my previous post about their “Everyday Anorak”,  Everlane manufactures high quality clothing & accessories at affordable prices. They cut out the middle man and consumers reap the benefits. After weeks of awesome social media hype & presence, Everlane launched these great backpacks. I watched their Snapchat story everyday (blushing) – but you all know I’m obsessed with social media anyway.

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Very versatile! I purchased in the larger size, obv because I carry FAR too much (but the mini is awesome too!) in the “Reverse Denim & Black Leather” color.

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Love the black leather detailing! This pack has pockets for all things; fits a MacBook, iPhone, side pockets for a water bottle/whatever else you want easy access to, inside pockets, front zipper pocket for small items, etc. Highly recommend this item for back to school or around the city or anywhere your travels take you. Gets endless compliments and “where’d you get that bag?” comments galore!

Use my link for your first purchase!!! https://www.everlane.com/r/ashleybyrd

And check out all of my Glossier Rec’s that I carry around in my backpack! 

Chiara Ferragni

Not only am I obsessed with taking selfies… I am also obsessed with taking selfies with selfie-obsessed fashion bloggers turned fashion designers. Chiara Ferragni is arguably the most successful fashion blogger on the planet. Her team is responsible for The Blonde Salad. She’s an inspiration to up-and-coming fashion people and writers in general, showing that yes – you can develop a lucrative and successful career, starting with writing and curating your own website.

Major moment with matching sunglasses. Mine, Illesteva.

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Slip On Sneaks

Legit doing a splurge vs. steal post right now because I’m legit obsessed with these slip-on sneakers I found last week at Piperlime.

I lust over clothing, shoes, handbags, furniture, gadgets, EVERYTHING, etc. that are way out of my price range like it’s my job. Not even like it’s my job – more like it’s my career. It’s a problem…whatever. These Saint Laurent Classic Skate Slip-On Sneakers caught my eye and I’d been lusting… and usually when I think about something for too long I bite the bullet and buy them.unnamed-3

Until….. I stopped in to Piperlime in Soho early last week. A rad salesperson was helping me around the store right before they were closing and showed me these Saint Laurent slip-on twinsies!

Report Signature Aspin Slip On’s. They’re on point. Report Signature is actually an extremely surprising brand – they’re always doing some really legit shoe that’s on-trend and SUPER comfortable at an amazingly appetizing price point. Like $495 versus $49?! HELLOoOoOoo?!?! Major score.

Fit is true to size, comfort is perfect and they look like Saint Laurent – what else could you possibly want?  I cannot urge you enough to wear these with a professional dress or something super dressy! And dress it down with these amazing slip ons. Trust – it works every time. Gives you the professional girl vibe with serious street cred.

My 1st SHOW: Calvin Klein SS15

Situated with a gorgeous view overlooking lower Manhattan at Spring Studios, the energy was real and almost tense as the anticipation built for Francisco Costa’s Spring Summer ’15 collection for Calvin Klein.

For my first ever fashion show at New York Fashion Week, I’d say I did really well. Was granted an ALL ACCESS pass and was escorted around backstage and front of the house, pre-show!

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AND THEN I DIED.

Met Francisco Costa (Creative Director, Calvin Klein Women) briefly, pre-show, he was so focused and yet out of his mind & this world. This overall experience was so unreal that I feel like I would be making is up if I didn’t actually live it. Check out some backstage pics of the makeup room and hair room, dressing room too! (5 minutes before showtime). Backstage were some “light snacks” – mini burger sliders, fruit, sandwiches, lots of drinks.

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Everyone and I mean everyone was dressed in black.

All black everything. Calvin Klein, duh. The music was dark – like a heartbeat but also sort of terrifying and amping. Music ultimately sets and creates mood and this music created a mystery of anticipation, sitting on the edge of your seat style (or for me – standing).

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It was the calm before the storm just before people started flooding in. Everyone started piling in.

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Spot: SJP to the left in a Cobalt coat.

Some serious celebs: Anna Wintour, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rooney Mara, Kate Moss, Nina Garcia ahhhh! All of my fave fashion bloggers – Chiara Ferragni, Rumi Neely, BryanBoy, Irene Kim, Mira Duma. So major!

As the runway started, a room filled with hundreds of people was completely silent. The first model emerged in deep navy blue. Every style was clean and crisp. Very minimal and lean, close to the body silhouettes in this collection. Tiered looks with small high belts and some metal detail. The color palette of course very strict: black, navy blue, gorgeous cream colored dresses and some deep, rich sultry reds (interesting for Spring, but LOVE nonetheless!). Long silhouettes and tank dresses were a major trend as well as metallic glossy fabrics.

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The show lasted about 8 and a half minutes. 8.5 minutes of pure bliss. iPhones out. I didn’t know whether or not to watch or take photos. Did both so I missed a few looks because IDC what anybody says – seeing something with your own 2 eyes is far more breathtaking than any photo will ever do justice.

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OBVI, Blurry …

Once the show ended, Francisco Costa came out for a quick bow and wave, applause and BREAK! Everybody starts to bolt out of there! It turned into the loud boisterous chaos that it was just 15 minutes prior. I was situated near the door – Anna Wintour bolted and legit RAN out of there – kinda humorous to watch. I caught up with Eva Chen (Editor of Lucky Magazine) in the elevator and we took an #elevatorselfie together. Most epic elevator ride EVER – filled with a serious faves – Grade Coddington! UM yesssss!

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Eva Chen and Me – #ELEVATORSELFIE ❤
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L to R (Clockwise): Nina Garcia, Rumi Neely, Mira Duma, Grace Coddington
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Kate Moss, sigh.
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Chiara Ferragni ❤

Cannot wait for next fashion week! #NYFW #MBFW

Indecision, Clothes Edition.

Tucked or untucked? Tied or loose? Black or brown? This one or that one? Left or right? Over or under? Jacket or no jacket….maybe sweater? Ugh, it’s so hot out though!!

Indecision with what to wear (amongst many other things) is my biggest asset/flaw/major waste of time. I’m constantly asking for opinions from others, and after they tell me it “looks good,” I continue to change my clothes. 3-7 more x’s… They obviously just want me to finish getting ready because I take basically forever to get dressed when given the opportunity.

Like many women, I have the ability to accidentally wake up 45 minutes later than usual (for work) and still arrive earlier than I could have on a day I woke up on time, even early.

So this means…poor time management while getting dressed and ready? Poor dress/attire prep? Whatever – nobody even knows the difference. People who are similar to me know the difference… but the general public (ew) does not.

Point is…if you’re spending time, you may as well get it together completely.

For dressing/styling myself & others, I’m extremely honest. So if I tell you “it’s appropriate” or “it looks great,” trust. Unless you’re just uncomfortable, then change. Simple.

A Few Rules of Thumb…

1. Always keep your hair down unless it absolutely needs to go up. Even after that, take it down. Some waves in your hair look great if you can put them back in a small clip (for when you have a crease or bump in your hair).

2. Black is always slimming (for when you’re having a “fat” day). Also, people notice it less… or, even better, remember it less – so it’s great for going under the radar.

3. Don’t listen to anybody but yourself. Trust yourself. Whenever I want to wear something questionable and a friend advises against it, but I wear it anyway – I get a lot of compliments. Maybe it’s in my head, but it definitely happens.

4. Dress appropriate for occasions. I’m a major disturber of peace. Sneakers with a very dressy dress to a very divey beer bar? Perfect. Casual the crap out of an awesome dress. You can totes repurpose a dress you’d likely not wear again because of photos you are in or because you feel like don’t have a place to wear it…. YOU DO!

5. Remember to get back what you lend out! Nothing worse than going to grab the perfect blazer you need to tie your outfit together and it isn’t right there hanging in your closet. And you remember your bestie has it and she’s away for the weekend. Bummer.

6. Be willing to not be so standard. (See, basic betch). I’m def not talking about wearing “bright orange pairs of pants,” Billy Joel…but I am talking about: bold lips and bold shoes. So… “bright orange pair of lips!” ;o) If you’re thinking, “SHOULD I?!?!” Yes. Yes you should. Go for it a little bit.

7. Always go for polished over sloppy. You have plenty of time to be sloppy. In the comfort of your own home. In bed. In front of your family. When you’re 5 years old… Time and place people! It’s always better to be overdressed than under dressed. Because then you’re left feeling great about yourself instead of feeling like shit about yourself. Self-esteem boosters, duh.

How To Tackle: Marshall’s or TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack

Store’s like Marshall’s & TJ Maxx are great for a few things – basics & trends you don’t want to spend a lot of money on.

Basics like black shirts, black dresses, black anything, OBV. White t-shirts, random work clothes? Not your jeans, probably. Current trends maybe like pastels, or like mules. It’s also perfect for disposable clothing or “going out clothes.” Shitty tops or dresses that you’ll wear once because you can only wear something out once, basically. But you don’t really mind because it was under $30, better yet, under $20 so who really cares?! But you’ll actually receive a bunch of complements on this crap, leading you to re-purpose this low quality piece of crap purchase probably several times. WIN, WIN!

Step 1: Be mentally prepared. Don’t go in thinking exactly what you’re looking for is going to be there. It’s not. Actually, exactly what you don’t need but have a crush on will be there. Nice and expensive.

*TIP*: Know your budget before you enter. If you have $100 to spend – know that. Know what you’re searching for. And if you have an open mind – just try to stick to your budget. That is why you’re shopping at Marshall’s now, isn’t it?

Step 2: Drink coffee or tea beforehand, so you’re alert. And not sleepy. And can move quickly in front of the snoozers (old ladies, 30-somethings with baby strollers, bratty menacing children).

*TIP*: Go early in the morning. Be the first person to enter when the doors open. To avoid: “the snoozers.”

Step 3: First round of try-on’s – grab 2 sizes (if available). Do a full sweep of the store. You’ll learn that I never commit to anything until I’ve seen everything at least once. AKA – doing a sweep or a full lap. I do this at bars for certain, but I also do this while shopping. Never fully commit until you’ve seen it all.

Step 4: Be prepared to give away all of your prized possessions (other than clothing that can be tried on) to the dressing room attendant. This means shoes, belts, bags, any other random objects that you picked up along the way. If it’s a Home Goods/Marshall’s – you’re fucked. Don’t even look at the Home Goods stuff until you’ve finished with your Marshall’s try-on’s.

Step 5: Wear easily changeable clothing. Dresses are great – slip on shoes like ballet flats or sandals are perfect. Less that you have to take off and put back on the better!

Step 6: Divide & conquer. Decide what is a “Must Have,” a “Maybe” and a “Definitely Not.” Put them in piles or on different hooks in the fitting room. Separate and get ready to leave the dressing room for round # 2.

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Definitely – Like this!
Nope! Doesn't Fit! Don't Like. Sorry Charlie!!!
Nope! Doesn’t Fit! Don’t Like. Sorry Charlie!!!

Step 7: Give the attendant your Def Not’s – hang on to your maybe’s and must have’s. Do one more lap around the store to find anything else that you may have missed or things to go with the items that you’re deciding to purchase.

Step 8: Hit the dressing room again if necessary (but literally, try to avoid this so you don’t risk thoughts of suicide).

Step 9: Get the fuck outta there! Hit up the line as soon as humanly possible because in any moment you’re going to have a severe anxiety attack, as you’ve been in this disorganized crazy store for over 30 minutes. Being that you planned ahead and went early or late night (prime shopping hours), the line should not be very long. While waiting in line, decide how you’re going to pay for your purchases and have your form of payment basically ready to go.

CRAZINESS!
CRAZINESS!

Step 10: Be nice to the cashier, pay for your shit and leave the premises. Breathe the fresh air in the parking lot like it’s your last breath of air on this earth. You’ve made it through, girl. You fucking did it. You’ve conquered Marshall’s / TJ Maxx – and you’re still alive. And you purchased something to wear for tonight or tomorrow night. Good freakin’ job, girl! Congratulations. You now deserve a cocktail so head home and immediately pour one.